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Influence of Dual-Task Constraints on Whole-Body Organization During Walking in Children Who Are Overweight and Obese

Hung, Ya-Ching EdD; Gill, Simone V. PhD; Meredith, Geneva S. BS

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: June 2013 - Volume 92 - Issue 6 - p 461–471
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31828cd59d
CME Article . 2013 Series . Number 4

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the influence of dual-task constraints on movement and force control in children who are overweight and obese.

Design: Twelve children who are overweight and obese (4–12 yrs old) and 12 age-matched children with normal weight participated. The children walked along a path at a self-selected pace under two conditions: walking carrying nothing (baseline condition) and walking while carrying a box (dual-task condition).

Results: The overweight/obese group showed less normalized hand vertical motion and shoulder range of motion compared with the control group (all P’s < 0.05). However, in comparison with the baseline condition, the overweight/obese group decreased gait velocity and stride length and increased step width, lateral hand movement, lateral spine movement, and medial/lateral ground reaction force during the dual-task condition (all P’s < 0.05).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that children who are overweight and obese modify lateral movements and force organization when faced with dual-task constraints, which may influence their ability to maintain safety when dual tasking is required.

From the Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, Queens College, The City University of New York, Flushing, New York (Y-CH, GSM); and the Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, Boston, Massachusetts.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Ya-Ching Hung, EdD, Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, Queens College, City University of New York, 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY 11367.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

CME Objectives: Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) describe general gait and postural control differences between overweight / obese children and normal-weight children, (2) understand the challenge that dual-task constraints pose for functional movement, and (3) discuss the potential impact of dual-task constraints on overweight and obese children.

Level: Advanced

Accreditation: The Association of Academic Physiatrists is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Association of Academic Physiatrists designates this activity for amaximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins